Saturday, February 25, 2017

For Your Viewing Pleasure

So while spring planting has started down in South Texas and probably some other places, for much of the country planting is still a ways off.  So what better way to fill that time than to watch some great videos.  Well AgroLiquid can provide.  Did you know that AgroLiquid has a Facebook page?   I thought it was a passing fad, but it seems to be here to stay.  And for current activity, it is better than a website.  So Facebook is the place to post available videos due to the amount of traffic.  Log onto our page.  You have to have a facebook account though.  I finally succumbed myself.
 But I'm mainly here to talk about the Research videos.  Every year, we have produced a series of info-sheets called Research Supports Future Growth.  Well this year we are all video, all the time.  So click "videos" in the menu column, and here you are.
There are three so far, with more to come each week.  I hope to get them labelled better for clarity of topic.  Stephanie and Tim led off, but I did my first one of these last week on High Plains Cotton.  So even if you are outside of the High Plains and don't plan on growing cotton, you should still watch as it is very informative. (Evidently it records number of views, and I need the business.)  Well I exceeded the recommended couple of minutes that actually holds people's attention, but it's worth it. So here is a scene from my video.  You can tell it's about cotton since I am holding some actual cotton.  I always knew it would come in handy someday when I brought it back to Michigan.   
And if these videos weren't enough,  AgroLiquid was just featured on an actual television show. That was the wildly popular Rural America Live on RFD-TV network last Thursday night.  If it was your bowling night and you missed it, fear not, it is available on the AgroLiquid Facebook page.  Find a place that looks like this. I say click it.  Click it good.  
So this was a joint venture with our friends and Retail Partners from Security Seed and Chemical. They were talking about AgroLiquid for supplying crop nutrition.  Even when commodity prices are tough, you still need to feed the plants to get optimal returns.  There was a rotating format.  Below we see agronomist Lang (L) and research director Patrick (R) from Security Seed & Chemical with Chris the chemist from AgroLiquid next to host Mark Oppold.  Galynn came in and out and then in again to explain that AgroLiquid is the wise choice for growing any crop.  And fortunately there was video of the NCRS and the importance of research to support the use of our unique nutrition. Security Seed & Chemical (SSC) also has an extensive field research program in Kentucky and Tennessee that Patrick manages with input from Lang.  Then Lang is responsible for spreading the word to growers and other SSC dealers.   We are research collaborators for sure.  Research provides proof and guidance for AgroLiquid use in the field.  Profit the Farmer is our motto.  
So that was a fun watch.  Hopefully you get through it all this weekend and are ready for next weeks Research Supports Future Growth installment.  (By the way, can you believe it's already been two months since Christmas?  Me neither.)

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Go Climb a Mountain

So back to our Hawaii business trip.  Wednesday morning, last full day....it's time for the annual climb up the Sleeping Giant.  There he is in full repose in the distance.  That's his head on the left, Soaring 1284 feet above sea level.  And I'm at sea level here.  This is the view from the resort beach.
So a bunch of us adventurers car pooled to the parking lot at the base.  You want to get an early start as it gets pretty hot later in the day.  There he is.  We call that pointy part on the right his chin.  You'll see more of that later.
 Here are the climbers for this trip.  Hopefully the same number return.
This isn't a stroll in the park.  Some parts are a little tough.  And this isn't one of them.  Gerrit has baby Finn strapped on his back.  Now that's confidence, I think.
 The trail switch-backs up the side.  Here is a view of the head on the way up.  Still have a ways to go.
 Making the final assault on the head.  Troy is probably already up there.  He is speedy.  I like to look around and take pictures, which covers for resting.
 At the very top.  On his forehead part, but he never woke up.
Here is a view back to the South towards our resort.  It's hazy due to volcano fog or vog from Kilauea volcano on the Big Island.
 Now to scale the chin, as Troy has done here.  It can be a little treacherous, especially if you look down.  So I don't.  There are no hand rails, and when I look at these pictures it seems a little crazy to do that.  But everyone does!
Kayla Duckert poses on top of the world.
 Nick and Andrea do a couples pose.
 Darn it Dale, you're not supposed to look down!  It's only 1281 feet to the ground.  The trees down there should break your fall.
Well he must have made it back up.  I saw him at his desk the other day.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Home on the Range

So a few weeks ago I again found myself in Southern Oklahoma at the Noble Foundation where we have a wheat pasture demonstration test.  I reported on it on my last visit there on October 25, and described the planting on September 23 in the October 14 blog for those that want to re-live the experience.  But it's wheat pasture planted into ground that has been native pasture for more than ten years.  Agro through the drill and streamed vs single app of 200 pounds of urea broadcast.  (And wouldn't you know it that it rained the night after that application.  But the battle is on.)

They have 24 cull heifers and two bulls with a job to do.  They move them from side to side each week.  Here they are when we got there, now on the Agro side.  See the wire?
 So who is the "we"?  Well I was joined by AgroLiquid VP Nick Bancroft, Regional Sales Mgr Sean Cravens (left), Retail Partner Dennis Sweat (brown jacket), and then technician Austin (light brown) and Noble Foundation's Dr. Evan Whitley and Hugh Aljoe.  Even though it was Southern OK, it was 22 degrees that morning.  Colder than it was in Michigan.
 Originally the plan was to have two herds, one on each side and weigh them in and out.  There was one pond on the place and they dug another for the other side.  But it didn't get full enough last fall.  So it kind of turned into a not so much research as demonstration.  Here was the pond on October 25.
And here it was on January 21 when we were there.  There was quite a bit of rain early, but then it was dry for awhile, now wet again.  But it is certainly drinkable now.
Walking up to have a look at the cows. 
 Here they are on the AgroLiquid side.  Ok, I don't know much about cattle, other than the finished product.  But the researchers were impressed at how good they look especially after going through a dry period where the wheat growth was limited.  They mentioned how good they were defecating.  I didn't know that was an indicator, but makes sense I guess.  Well the Agro topdress was on December 8 and was 10 gallons of High NRG-N and 5 gallons of 32% per acre.  Now with some rain, you can see the wheat coming on good and green as the wheat shows good growth. So it should produce good wheat grazing from now on.  One other thing they mentioned was that there seemed to be more clumps of dormant perennial grass on the Agro side as they are eating the wheat and not so much the clumps.
I guess so as this is a pic looking back East towards the wire (see some orange flags on it) and maybe less clumps on the other side as they resort to eating that if wheat not as plentiful.
 Here is a pic on the conventional side and I guess the clumps are grazed down more than the earlier picture with the cows on the Agro side.
So after that we all went our separate ways.  Interesting morning.  I hope to get back again in March as they plan to sell the heifers in early April.  This bull was glad to see us go, although fortunately he kept his distance.
So this year's test mainly turned into a demonstration.  They said they are interested in keeping it going next fall with new pasture establishment, and hopefully be able to do a better comparison.  And you can certainly follow it here.

Monday, February 6, 2017

NCRS Hoop Dreams

So it seems that the AgroLiquid Fitness Committee was worried that the NCRS crew was getting soft turning wrenches and greasing bearings during winter equipment maintenance.  So one day a basketball hoop appeared and now there is plenty of physical activity during breaks and lunch.  Jeff lets one fly as Phil, Zouheir, Brian, and Tim G brace for the rebound.  I mean the swish.
Tim posts up Zouheir who would be wise to pass rather than challenge Sir Tim.
After the game Jeff gets pretty fancy showing the progress all this physical activity has brought.
 Not to be outdone, Phil executes a perfect Reverse Slam.
Renae shows the boys who the real Queen of Basketball is by letting it fly from the storage deck. Nothing but net.  No one could top that, so back to work.
In the growth chamber, an experiment is being conducted for growing transplant tomatoes for a large nursery supplier.  Ferti-Rain is looking very good against the conventional and possibly other AgroLiquid inputs. Hmmm.  By the way, this growth chamber was one of my first purchases back in 1992.  Glad it's still in use proving Liquid strong. 
And here is Zouheir in his NCRS lab running some experiments on potassium movement in his soil monoliths.  He will be talking about them at the upcoming summit.
Well that is a great start to the week at the NCRS.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Kauai Coffee Visit

So back to the Hawaii Trip....today about the field trip to AgroLiquid customer: Kauai Coffee.  This has always been a favorite stop for the samples of delicious coffee from the largest coffee plantation in America.  And even more so since they have been using AgroLiquid on an increasing number of acres each year. 
This year would be different as we actually went out into the field on some of the 3000 acres of coffee to see what it takes to manage coffee growth.  By now it was nearly a month since harvest was finished.  They had a great growing season in 2016 and a virtually rain-free harvest.  So there was a record harvest, and everyone was in a good mood.  Especially since drought and rainy harvest in 2015 caused a low-yielding  harvest.  Here Orchard Manager Jon describes the seasonal growth of coffee to the group.

 This is an early flower.  But soon they will be covered in flowers and the coffee cycle begins again.
 Part of coffee management involves total removal of all branches and stems, an operation called stumping.  Irrigation Manager Bronson describes how and why this is done.  The goal would be to have all branches be the same size and age.  That leads to uniformity.  When they get too big with old and young branches, it can lead to uneven production.  So cut it down to the stump and let them regrow. Different varieties have different stumping requirements.  Some can go for many years and some need it more often.  Who knew?  (Notice that the drip tape has alrady been strung out ready to be hooked up and deliver Liquid fertilizer.)
Here is a look at the stumped field.  It takes a lot of good planning to schedule all of this over the entire farm.  I wondered how long it takes to re-grow.

 Well this field was stumped a year ago, and now look.  It varies by variety, but I was impressed at the rapid regrowth here.
In addition to stumping, coffee plants must also be hedged from time to time to keep branches from growing into the row middles.  Shorter branches are stronger too.  This machine is a beast as those are rotating saws that do the job.  This one had just come out of a row and was turning around to go back on the other side.  For some reason they wouldn't let us get too close.

So you may recall from last year that I reported that a field treated with AgroLiquid through the drip lines produced the highest yield fr that year.  Well it happened again with the 2016 crop.  This 96 acre field produced around 12,000 pounds of coffee per acre.  Impressive.  I have shown this one in the blog in the past since it is pretty next to the ocean.  The sun wasn't in the best place at the time,  and it has been recently harvested, but wanted to show it.  They are impressed since this is right next to the ocean and is subject to salt spray.  Sounds like low-salt fertilizer is the key.   

After the field tour, time for a coffee break.

Always a good time at Kauai Coffee.  Look for it in your grocery store.  If it's not there, ask.  Or send an order to AgroLiquid.  It's sold in our store.  We help grow it, so we can certainly help drink it.  But now we will think about all the work that goes into growing the beans for each cup we drink.  No wonder coffee is so good. 

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Tropical Start for 2017

So the best way to start the new year is to put the past year behind you and get motivated for the season ahead.  And a week in Hawaii is the best way to accomplish that.  In early January a group of top AgroLiquid Retail Partners, some growers and some AgroLiquid employees descended on the island of Kauai at the Kauai Beach Resort for some meetings, activities and plenty of time to see the sights. 
The weather was perfect and a beautiful sunrise over the ocean got every day off to a great start.
 There was a boat ride where plenty of dolphins and whales were seen.
We visited AgroLiquid customer Kauai Coffee to learn about the various stages of coffee growth throughout the year. 
 We had a banquet that was preceded by a hula dance show.
There was a banquet featuring a variety of delicious food with live Hawaiian music, recognition of sales accomplishments, motivational talk by our CEO Troy Bancroft, and then more live (and lively) music into the night.
Kauai is home to several seed companies that conduct research year-round in the tropical conditions. We had a visit to Dow AgroSciences where they demonstrated some of their inbred corn research that is used to develop hybids with new characteristics.
Always enjoy the opportunity to eat unusual foods.  Anyone know what this is?  It looks like a big hairy strawberry.  It's a rambutan, which comes from a tree of the same name.  You bite into it to peel off the outside.  Then there is that white grape-looking thing in the middle that you eat.  Not bad, but would rather just eat a regular grape.
We went for a night shoot of sporting clays at one of our favorite places, Kauai Eco-Clays, run by one of our favorite people, Ben Ellsworth.  It was fun with a capital F.
We climbed a mountain, the challenging Sleeping Giant.  Elevation 1281 feet above sea level, and you can see the sea below.
There are several luaus on the island that groups of people attended.  This was the Smith's Tropical Garden luau, and here they are lifting the pig out of the coals where it has been cooking all day. Kalua pork, it falls off the bone.
Most of the time you can do what you want.  I like to go to the beach down on the Southside at Poipu.
And about eleven hours after sunrise, there is sunset.  Good thing because after a day of fun in the sun, you're tired!
Now after a week of that, hopefully everyone leaves motivated to sell fertilizer so they can come back next year.  Or to go for your first time.  Especially in such challenging times like now.  I will expand on some of the above activities in upcoming Land of Liquid blog posts.  Until then: Aloha.